The luxury hospitality brand brings its luxury resorts one step closer to Singapore’s doorstep
When Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas announced that it would be opening a property in Desaru, Malaysia, the industry wondered if it had made the right decision. After all, Desaru was known to be pit stop, not a destination. Those who made regular trips were there to tee-off at The Els Club Desaru Coast. But amid naysayer comments, the five-star resort stuck to its guns and unveiled the Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas.
Take it from us and leave your last memory of Desaru Coast back at home while you make your journey there – it takes roughly two hours from door to door in smooth traffic, though the travel time would be cut significantly once the jetty opens in 2021 – because Anantara Desaru will challenge everything you think remember about the space.
Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas is designed to mimic a traditional Malay kampong, albeit in a luxurious fashion. It sits on 16 sq km of land, ensuring each guest gets to unwind in privacy, while also fostering a community spirit through events on the ground.
Upon arrival, you’ll be welcomed at the lobby (you’ll see the stunning infinity pool) that overlooks the entire property. Enjoy a welcome refreshment and take your time to soak in your surroundings, or if you’d rather laze in air-conditioned comfort, head to your room.
Accommodation options are kept simple here. Choose between a room or villa. Room sizes don’t differ by much; the lead-in category is at a generous 49sqm, with the highest tier, a Deluxe Sea View Corner Room at 50sqm. And if the space feels much larger than it seems, you’re right. The boxy design of the rooms, along with intelligent design, provides guests with an abundance of functional space. Fuelling that is warm lighting and monochromatic furniture, with pops of colour in the throw cushions and tartan rugs. Those who enjoy having different zones in a room should opt for the Deluxe Sea View Corner. Though its size may not justify the splurge at first thought, the wraparound balcony holds a separate dining area along with two oversized sofas for lounging.
For a little more privacy (and a lot more room), book the One-Bedroom Lagoon Pool Villa. The 110-sqm, two-storey villa comprises a living room on the ground floor, with a bedroom and ensuite bathroom upstairs. Outside, you’ll find a plunge pool and patio, which makes quite a sweet spot for in-villa, poolside dining.
Multi-generational families can also take the opportunity to reminisce the yesteryears of Desaru Coast in the Four-Bedroom Beach Residence, which sleeps up to 12. The residence is palatial at 380 sqm, and offers direct beach access. While the little ones can take a splash in the infinity pool or play under the gazebo, the adults can have endless conversations in the pool-facing living room. Meals can also be fully taken care of; a dedicated chef and butler will see to your every need and whip up a variety of international cuisines on demand. Rooms are spread across both floors of the villa, offering garden or sea views.
While many may opt for in-villa dining, Anantara Desaru offers a variety of dining options to keep you hooked. Alfresco beachfront restaurant Sea.Fire.Salt offers freshly caught seafood grilled over an open fire. Turmeric, the all-day dining restaurant, serves local fare such as Nasi Lemak and Otak Otak, along with regional Thai and Chinese cuisines.
For sundowners, nightcaps and cigars, head to the Observatory Bar. The elevated bar is a vantage point for 360-degree views of the resort and its surroundings. Feeling peckish in between meals? The bar also serves the resort’s signature afternoon tea.
While the resort’s surroundings are still far from bustling, there’s still more than enough to keep guests occupied. Join in-house naturalist, Wahyu, on morning and evening walks, and learn about native creatures that’ll sometimes pop by the resort for a visit. You’ll also also spot hermit crabs, Dusky Leah monkeys and Asian water monitor lizards, all of which call the coast their home.
Golfers will also be familiar with the two courses that sit a stone’s throw away from the resort, designed by Ernie Else and Vijay Singh. If you’d like to celebrate nailing a hole-in-one on the greens, the 120-minute Golders’ Remedial Massage may be up your alley. Using Anantara Spa’s signature oil blend, the therapist will use a firm pressure to slowly knead out the kinks in your body, focusing on sore areas and stimulating blood circulation to promote a quick recovery.